The Daily Rossman (est. 1975) is the world's oldest web B.L.O.G.G. (Bitchin' Legendary Online Godcomplex Gazette). Not that I live an extraordinary life or anything (the government hit squads and the Ninja Assassins Guild have all cut back on their programs directed at ME lately, mostly thanks to a couple of well-placed letters in Jimmy Jammer's handwriting threatening all of their mothers), but sometimes I do accidentally maim a couple of dozen people, or unwittingly have my robot kill an assload of old folks; and I find that I want to share these happy stories with you, the general public.
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ONIcon 1998: The Con Of The Century!
Note to self 440: 12/21/2018
A few months ago, Cupcake was out and about for some reason or another and came across a "free" packet that we could use to test our home's water for impurities. Since Cupcake is a conscientious mother, she took a water-tester package, filled up the small plastic bottles that were included with our tap water, and mailed it in to the company that did the testing...
Last week Cupcake got an almost hysterical phone call from the water testing company (that I won't name, but I'll just call them "BullshitCo") essentially saying "Do NOT drink or bathe in your water! There may be minerals and chemicals in it! We will send someone over ASAP in order to run a full test and let you know how we can help save you and your family's LIVES!"
Cupcake was a little concerned at first (she'd been making the babby's formula with this water [filtered and boiled, but still] for the past eight months after all), but I calmed her down and reminded her that all water has minerals and some chemicals in it, and that this was probably just a con-job by BullshitCo to try and milk us for an extremely overpriced filtration system. She still insisted on having their sales guy/tester come over to run their scheme — I mean inspection — on our H2O and see if we were actually being poisoned by our own water. I once again told her that we lived in an upperclass suburb of Atlanta, and not Flint, MI, and that we were fine. But the test was free, and I would be working from home the day the guy was coming over, so I just went with it.
So, I was working in my home office on the day of the test, bouncing my baby on my knee while going through some spreadsheets. Cupcake was at the dentist. Suddenly the dog started barking like a hound from Hell at an escaping soul, and she ran to the front door, growling and howling the whole time. (She's a 70lb bully. She sounds vicious!)
The baby started crying and then the doorbell rang. It was the BullshitCo guy. Early, of course.
I locked the dog in the bathroom and opened the front door to a nervously smiling man in his twenties with the name Rashawn embroidered on a patch on the BullshitCo jacket he was wearing. I let him in and asked how long this inspection/test was going to take, as I lied and told him I had a business call in a half an hour. He told me that it would only be thirty to forty minutes tops, so I'd probably make my call. I told him to make it quick because if my wife wasn't home by the time of my call he had to leave. That's when he informed me that he HAD TO wait for both the home owners to be present in order to even start the presentation. I then said, "Well, then just to be safe you should leave NOW..." He then told me it was actually more of a guideline than a rule, and he proceeded to set up his water experiment station on the counter next to the kitchen sink. Keep in mind that the baby was still screaming her head off this entire time since I hadn't had a chance to check to see what she was crying about.
It turned out that just being stared at was enough to calm the baby down, and so I began to pay attention to what the BullshitCo guy was doing. He had a plastic place mat on the counter with a lot of circles on it set up in pairs: one blue circle always next to one red circle. I asked what that was about.
"Each circle represents a set of bottles where I will test certain elements in your water," Rashawn said. "The red ones... [he held up a bottle with a piece of red tape at the top to show me] are all unfiltered. And the blue [he showed me a blue] will be filled with water that passes through this BullshitCo purifier."
He then held up an eighteen inch clear plastic cylinder, with the top half containing pellets of something black, and the bottom half filled with little bits of something yellow. "This is the BullshitCo filter," he told me.
I asked if the black pellets were charcoal, to which Rashawn responded with, "Ummm.... I thing it's some kind of carbon."
"Fair enough," I responded.
He then hooked the cylinder up in our sink. As he was about to fill up the first red-taped bottle with our unfiltered tap water I stopped him with a question. "Hey," I said. "Could you do me a favor and let me see those two bottles?" I was pointing to the red bottle and it's blue bottle brother that I expect was going to be BullshitCo-filtered. Rashawn was extremely reluctant and claimed that nobody but him was allowed to even touch the bottles.
I swear on my great Grammy's grave that when Rashawn held the two bottles up to the sunlight before filling them, I could clearly see that the red bottle (the "unfiltered" one) had a very obvious resin (or something) coating it all around the inside that the blue bottle did not.
I stopped him from filling the bottles with water and said, "Let's switch them." He looked stunned. "Let's put the UNFILTERED water in the blue bottle and the FILTERED in the red. Okay? That should not mess up your 'experiment' in the least, right? Humor me. I just want to see what happens."
Rashawn did NOT humor me, and in fact heavily insisted that he could only put the unfiltered tap water in the red bottles. He had no reason to give, but made it sound like it was a law that he was 100% unwilling to break, like me stopping for fat chicks.
I calmed his borderline autistic, Rainman-like mantra of "Unfiltered in red! Only unfiltered in red!" down by saying, "Okay, okay, buddy. Fine. Unfiltered in red..." But then I asked him another question that didn't please the on-the-spectrum water-science man. "Say, how much is your 'filter' anyway?"
The only answer he would give was "I can only tell you in the end. After my presentation is over."
So... It was going to be one of THOSE sales pitches. Only no free lunch included. Uuuuuuuugh..
To make an already long story short, Cupcake came home within twenty minutes and immediately picked up on the vibe that this was a total con job. Rashawn was on a roll with his spiel though, and we found out quickly that if we asked any question at all in the middle of it he was thrown off his game and needed almost a full minute to figure out where he was in order to start his lines up again. Oh, and there was a Power Point presentation on his iPad. It was condescending as shit, and boring as hell. Of course.
Oh, and that thirty minute quote to do this test that he initially gave me? Lies. Even with us rushing him at the end it took a full two hours. Two fucking hours... I forsook my made-up phone call in order to not leave Cupcake alone with this guy, and he wasted two hours of my day. We tried to get him to wrap things up or just leave at about an hour in, but he absolutely refused. We felt like prisoners in our own house. It was sooo uncomfortable.
Anyway, during that two hours I found out the following (everything from this point on is probably pure bullshit that Rashawn had pre-written in his cue cards):
Because one red-taped bottle turned cloudy after putting in a ton of drops of some unnamed chemical to react to the pre-installed resin, Rashawn let us know that our water is POISONED with chlorine.
(Yes, with something like 1-1.5ppm [parts per million] chlorine... The EPA says we're totally safe up to 4ppm. And yes, there is always chlorine in our drinking water in the U.S. since it kills the bad shit while at the water treatment plants that really CAN murder us.)
There are MINERALS in our water! HOLY SHIT, MARIE! MINERALS! Our unfiltered water turned BROWN when Rashawn put in some unknown drops of something else that interacted with whatever was already coating that specific red bottle!
(Yes... Minerals in water is universal. And yes, those minerals in nice suburbs in America are waaaay below what is acceptable according to the EPA.)
BullshitCo's filtration device will save us over $20,000 on water, soaps, and dishwasher and clothes-washer costs over 10 years!
(The math that Rashawn made me do was questionable at best, and simply made up with the most bogus numbers he came up with from the top of his head at worst. He was just telling me shit to plug into my calculator like, "Now, you spend $80 per month on soaps and detergents, right? So multiply 80 by 12, then multiply that by 10, Then you have to figure that a new dishwasher is $15,000. So add that, and then divide by 30. And your water bill must be over $500 per month too, right? So add that, then multiply it by your age... Now divide by 5.4589.... Then add in how much you think that I weigh... Now, turn your calculator upside down... That spells "B00BIES," right?)
BullshitCo would throw in over "$2,500" of their no-name soap, shampoo, dish detergent, and laundry detergent for free! 50 years-worth! FOR FREE!!! I immediately googled that no-name brand on my phone and found nothing anywhere online about it. Like Rashawn made it up on the spot. Yeah... I'll exchange my Cascade, Dawn, Ivory, and All for your shit-brand, K-mart special soaps. Sounds like a deal to me!
BullshitCo's filtration device NEVER NEEDS CLEANING, MAINTENANCE, OR REPLACING... I asked if that was scientifically possible, which stunned Rashawn into silence. Seriously, he didn't know what to say to recover from this question.
I then had to had to explain that by its very definition, filtering something like water would leave behind the impurities that one was filtering out. And those impurities were the same things that Rashawn carefully explained to us would "clog our pipes up if left untreated."
"So," I asked again, "where does your BullshitCo filtering system put these impurities that it takes out of our water if it never needs to be cleaned, emptied, or replaced?"
No answer was given except, "You just put salt in the filter every month. You buy it at Lowe's or something. That's it."
And finally, after two hours of my day were wasted, and after Cupcake and I shared over fifty "eye-rolls" with each other over the completely made up numbers and "science" presented to us as fact by Rashawn, we were asked the following. "After hearing how this product will save you over $20,000 in water, appliances, and soaps over ten years, and how it will take the poisons and minerals out of your tap water that are KILLING you and your baby [this was a low blow], how much would you expect to pay for it?"
I didn't hesitate for a second. "Fifteen dollars," I said. I was straight-faced and bored looking, staring intently at him as sincerely as I could. I was impressed that Cupcake kept up the same facade too... But she may have fallen asleep thirty minutes ago, I wasn't sure.
Rashawn's fake smile fell. "Um, no... No..." was all he could say at first before composing himself. "Guess again."
I stared at him for a full five seconds. "Ten. Ten dollars. That's my final offer."
Confusion and possibly betrayal played on Rashawn's face. "Umm, uh, did you not hear that this will save you over $20,000?...."
No response from us.
"Well then," Rashawn finally said. "I'll tell you. It will only cost $10,000!"
"Get the fuck out of my house!" Both Cupcake and I said at the same time with the same ferocity. We both startled the baby, and the poor dog (still in the bathroom) started barking and howling again. Rashawn tried to explain that we were fools for not taking him up on this! In fact, he could get our monthly payments for this BullshitCo water system down from $260/month to only $136/month! (I don't think he ever said how long we'd have to pay that.) How could we pass that up?!
As we were kicking him out the door (after he packed up all his bottles and beakers and drops), I remembered that he had taken out a twenty dollar bill as a physical example of how much money we'd save a day or a week or something, which he left on our counter. Figuring this could be used as a callback or a lawsuit ("Those people stole our employee's money!"), I ran back to the kitchen, grabbed the bill, and rushed back to the front porch where Rashawn was still arguing with my wife. I reached out my hand as if to shake his, and this seemed to make the man smile, apparently thinking that I had changed my mind. I then said, "Here's your twenty you forgot. Now get the fuck out." His smile went away like a rainbow disappearing in the face of a full-blown thunderstorm. He then hung his head low and retreated to his car where he then got on the phone with someone who apparently bitched him out for a while before he drove off.
This magic show... excuse me, I meant ILLUSION show, was one of the worst con jobs that I've ever seen. After Rashawn left, I went online and looked up BullshitCo's track record and reviews. All I found was maaaaaaany negative reviews, one major class action lawsuit (brought about due to their "unfair and deceptive water-testing scheme"), and many local news teams exposés (one in which a Better Business Bureau agent was quoted as saying, “[Water testing kits are] historically… this is a well-known scam… [People] may be spending a lot of money for a water purification system… that they actually don’t need.”)
Cupcake and I laughed about the 2-hour waste of our precious time after the fact, but then we had to wonder if anybody was stupid enough to fall for the very obvious bullshit science and maths that were thrown at us, let alone dumb enough to actually purchase a $10,000 filtration system that never needed cleaning or replacing. So we went on Facebook and asked our friends if anybody got the same song and dance from BullshitCo, and what they thought about it.
Cupcake had a friend who said that the BullshitCo demonstration was "mind blowing," and that her and her husband were super smart and great negotiators, and got the salesman down from $10,000 to $7,500... And even though there were some issues with the filter at first, they only had to call in the repair workers 3 or 4 times the first year at $80 a pop per service call (any replacement parts were free!). I told Cupcake that we would never lend any money to that friend ever again.
Oh, and we eventually did let the dog out of the bathroom.
Note to self 439: 05/18/2018
I have to preface the following story with my beliefs on poor motherfuckers. Now, I'm not talking about poor people like your friend who's down on his luck and having to eat ramen for dinner every night for a few months until he finds a job. I'm talking about motherfuckers raised in poverty who have an absolute disdain for anyone who has even slightly more than they do, despite the fact that these people never even try to do anything with their lives beyond collecting their government checks for the six kids they've popped out in order to stay on the dole. Anyway, I find these motherfuckers to be scum.
Hear me out. I've spoken before about how I'd joined my brother's family in going to their church's almost ghetto neighborhood to hand out grilled burgers and hot dogs to the poor in that shitty section of town (I can be good sometimes. It's been known to happen). I've written about how these poor motherfuckers would waddle their obese asses (and their seven to nine fat-ass kids) down to the free cook-out, grab a dozen dogs and sodas (for free), and COMPLAIN "Hot dogs AGAIN?! Ugh. Why don't you get us pizza, or tacos, or steak?" I swear to god that is a goddamn quote, and not just from one poor family.
On top of that, I've seen too many homeless motherfuckers drugged out of their mind on street corners begging for cash — and ONLY cash; they get pissed if you offer them food — just so they can shoot up again, or smoke some crack to forget about only having 2/3rds of a coat, or one sock.
My caveat to my antipathy to the poor is when they are actually asking for food on a street corner. If they accept food (and don't knock it out of my hand saying "I don' need food! Gimme cash, bitch!" [which is another direct quote I've heard in my life]), I will always give them any doggy bag that I have on me, or, on occasion, I will actually walk into a restaurant with them, let them order a sandwich or something, and pay for it. I'm not a soulless robot.
So, my story begins in this way: I was walking around downtown Atlanta during my lunch break yesterday, and on a whim I decided to go into a small, family-run Italian hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I'd never been to before. They had a chicken parm sandwich on their menu that sounded good, so I ordered that, found a seat at the giant storefront window, and waited for the meal to be made.
It was at this point that I noticed a homeless guy outside on a park bench smoking a cigarette (not an unusual site in Atlanta), but he was constantly looking up at anybody walking past him with baggies or boxes from any of a number of local eateries. When people with food walked close enough to him he would actively raise a hand, and it looked like he was politely asking for any leftovers. My heart actually went out to the poor fucker.
Then my sandwich was brought to my table and I noticed that it was fucking huge! It was crammed with chopped up chicken, marinara sauce, and a shit-ton of cheese falling out between the top and bottom of the foot-long loaf. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for in a chicken parm sandwich, but it was decent enough, and I knew I would barely be able to finish just half of it. So I immediately came up with a plan of action. After I was done with my lunch, I'd fill my to-go cup up with Coke and present the homeless guy outside with the food and drink on my way back to the office. I started to smile with how awesome I was.
As I ate though, I watched the homeless guy finish his cigarette and try to bum another one off of a passerby who was smoking as he hustled past the beggar, totally ignoring him. Homeless Tito, as I called him (as he looked like the Jackson 5 member), then stood up with reluctance and reached into his pocket only to pull his hand out with what appeared to be three scrunched-up twenty-dollar bills, several fives, and a ton of ones. Then he walked to my right, out of sight of my vantage point. I figured he was going to the sandwich shop a few doors down to get himself a bite to eat. I continued my meal, planning to give my leftovers to any other homeless guy or gal I saw on my way back to my office if Homeless Tito did in fact buy himself lunch with his mad stash of cash.
Then, a few minutes later, Homeless Tito came back. This time he sat in a chair right outside the restaurant I was in — only five feet away now — facing me. I then saw what he had just purchased with his pocket'o'cash: a pack of Marlboros and an honest to god bottle in a plain paper bag. He did not go to the sandwich shop next door, but he did go to the liquor store on the other side of it.
My first reaction was "what a goddamn waste of money, but at least he'll have my hot chicken sandwich to eat in a few minutes." But then I caught myself. This motherfucker had tons of cash in his pocket, and although he'd been begging for food for the last twenty minutes, he could have EASILY spent that money on a slice of pizza, a hot dog, or a sandwich. But instead, he got himself liquor and tobacco...
The gall of this greedy-as-hell bastard infuriated me. I just sat there staring at him as he pulled a sip or two from his rather large bottle of whatever-the-fuck he had in that paper package. Then he turned and made eye-contact with me. I glared at him. Then I stuffed the last bite of the first half of sandwich into my mouth and chewed it slowly, and swallowed it with menace. Then, I made sure that he could see that I still had a large portion of over-stuffed sandwich remaining, and kept eye contact with him as I walked over to the shop's trashcan near the front door. I was just about to drop the half of chicken parm in when a thought occurred to me. "This cock could easily run in and grab this meal out of the trash before anyone could say anything to him. No, sir. That won't do at all."
So then I took the remaining sandwich back to my seat, staring at Homeless Tito the whole time (noticing that he was actually slightly drooling by then). I sat down and I slowly and deliberately ate that fucking sandwich while never looking away from that cockburn's eyes. I chewed every bite around twenty times and swallowed every morsel as if it were mana from the heavens.
When I was done, I closed my eyes in full satisfaction, and actually had to loosen my belt by a belt-hole. I don't remember ever being that full in my life. I threw my napkins and cup away, and as I walked out the door just a few feet away from Homeless Tito, I belched the most amazing baritone burp that I was ever able to produce. It was like a mix of a whale song and a lion roaring. I wish I recorded it.
I never looked back at Homeless Tito, I just walked on down the street. Fuck the ever-motherfuckin'-poor. They're usually poor for a reason, and that reason is they are SHIT when it comes to money and finances... That or they're lazy... Or they have no family or friends to help them out because they're total assholes... Or a good combination of those things. Argue all you want and call me callous, but you know this to be true.
Note to self 438: 09/07/2017
This past weekend was our annual pilgrimage to Atlanta for Dragon Con. Despite the overwhelming crowds, we still like to go and hang out with good friends (namely Mick and Min), meet some guests of honor, and make fun of all the shitty cosplayers' costumes. Cupcake herself chose not to dress up this year, but I decided to go as Old Man, from The Legend of Neil, just so that I could be snarky and kind of a dick to all the Link cosplayers roaming around. I nailed it.
Other than the D*C being seemingly less populated than it has been in recent years (walkways and hotel lobby floors appeared to be much less congested), there were still a buttload of con-goers in attendance. This made the soul-crushing lines and wait times to see certain panels and meet some special guests almost not worth it. For example, Cupcake and I wanted to get a bunch of autographs from Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Billie Piper, and Alex Kingston (we'd met and got some shit signed by John Barrowman a few years back already), and we got the chance to meet, talk to, handshake, and get some official artwork signed by them all... but at the price of a LOT of time, and a shit-ton of our sanity. What made it all worth while though was when Karen Gillan got me to twirl around in my giant white beard and red bathrobe before asking me if I was Santa Claus. I, in my best Old Man impression, said, "No, I'm just the old man from the original Legend of Zelda... I am the one who gave Link his sword... I made it myself. Link didn't appreciate it though." She looked amusedly confused, even when I held up the super cheezy foam Master Sword that I had with me. I was ecstatic and beyond words with how happy I was. I was able to cosplay in front of Amy Pond. Who gets to say that?
Arthur Darvill was really cool too, and when Smith and Kingston all hit the special Doctor Who autograph room set up for them all, everybody stopped what they were doing and the 4 actors raced to give each other hugs in the back of the place. It was so special, I didn't even say anything sarcastic or saucy... So out of character for either or Old MAN or Ooold Man.
And speaking of Arthur, we got to hang with him for a few minutes since there was nobody else in line waiting for him at the time (most everybody else in the crowded room was waiting for Smith or Gillan). He seemed very down to Earth, and he was cool to simply chill out with us while he asked about the large comic-book-styled print that we had him sign (drawn by a friend of Cupcake's who does official Doctor Who comic book art, because we're special) while we asked him what it was like working on Broadchurch with now TWO Doctors, and on Legends of Tomorrow (which we don't watch because it sucks, but which he is a part of nonetheless).
Then we got in line for Karen Gillan. She was still amused by my costume, but she was blown away by the fact that Cupcake actually made the cake for her little cousin Caitlin's 16th birthday when she came down to Con Kasterborous a few years back (we had pics to share). Karen even wrote a special message for us on the print: "If he tells you to run, RUN!" I promised myself I wouldn't geek out over shit like this, but it was indeed awesome.
Then we hopped on over to Matt Smith's autograph line. His people who kept the line going chastised me for trying to take a picture of Smith (despite how much we shelled out for the autograph in the first place), but Smith himself was really approachable. He even signed "To my favorite American companions..." Which was quite the statement. Then, as we were leaving the autograph room with our signed prizes, I quickly turned around and snapped a shot of the 11th Doctor as he signed away on other people's stuff. I like to fight the system any way that I can.
As I was saying before, despite the con being noticeably less packed in the hallways and main hotel floors this year compared to previous years, some of the big lines were still unpossible to wait in. Cupcake and I did get lucky with the Georgia Philharmonic concert on Saturday night though. The line to get in wrapped outside of the Hyatt, down the street, and around the corner when we got in it about an hour before the show was to begin. We got dehydrated in the sun, got cigarette smoke blown in our faces by two douchebags who refused to put them out (even in the face of the impotent con security), and I got asked if I was Santa, God, or Moses multiple times by passers-by as we got ourselves all worked up for the aural pleasures that were soon to follow.
Eventually the line started moving, and after a few minutes of organized walking, we all made it into the giant conference/auditorium in the Hyatt's basement. Our seats were actually only halfway back from the stage despite our place in line! Most impressive.
They of course filled the entire audience chamber up (over 2,400 available chairs), and soon the concert of movie and TV songs began, conducted by the Philharmonic conductor dressed in very well-done Darth Maul makeup and horn prosthetics. They played music from Star Wars, Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Outlander, Austin Powers, and Beauty & the Beast. And it was pretty goddamn magical.
The concert was a good example of how the D*C did a line right: everybody was in single file, and they had line counters coming around telling us where we were in the scheme of things, and how many seats the auditorium could hold... The Evening With the Ponds (featuring Karen Gillan, Alex Kingston, and Arthur Darvill) panel was a shitshow of catastrophic proportions though (as well as almost every other queue for a popular panel this year, and for the past 10 years).
Things started out poorly for us at around 3:00 PM on Sunday, when Cupcake and I found ourselves in line for the Billie Piper autograph session (which was supposed to start at 3:30). When Billy still hadn't arrived by 3:25 PM, Cupcake got nervous about us missing the Evening With the Ponds panel, and so she sacrificed her chance to meet Ms. Piper in order to find the "Unofficial Official Line" for the Ponds' panel (that wasn't even to begin until 5:30 PM that day). She texted me that she was securely in the queue, and that we were good. I then got our Ms. Piper autograph at around 4:20 (stumbling through what I wanted her to write on our art print while she called me "Luv") and then ran up two flights of stairs to find Cupcake in the Ponds' line. I was actually pretty happy at how far up we were (maybe 150 people back... Not bad by Dragon Con standards). Over the next few minutes we were told by D*C staff that yes, we were indeed in the unofficial-official line for the Ponds' panel (they wouldn't allow us to officially start lining up until an hour before the panel began), and all was well... But then at 4:30, they came around again and told us that the "OFFICIAL Line" was now starting, and we had to move.
"WHAT THE FUCK?!" somebody (surprisingly not me) yelled. "What does that mean? We've been here for over an hour already!" The D*C staffers just ignored us and forced us out a side door where we could see a new line forming that already snaked down some stairs and around a corner.
Cupcake and I went with the flow, even though it forced us to leave the glorious air-conditioning of the Marriott. But when we got to the bottom of the stairs and we saw what had become of the "Official Line," well, we got a little pissed. Chaos had ensued as soon as the line hit the ground level, and the organized single file line we had been a part of had turned into a 20-people-wide clusterfuck of retardation. And this line wrapped around the building, and then around the building again. It was like as soon as the line was forced outside it was flash-mobbed by whoever was closest to it without regard for manners, decency, or intelligence... On either the con-goers' side or the staffers' side.
Once a quick calculation showed us that there were far more people in line than would ever fit into the panel hall, we abandoned all hope. Seriously, FUCK YOU, Dragon Con... You've been around for 30 years... THIRTY FUCKING YEARS... Please learn how to queue your attendees, you cock-gobblers.
Other than the shit lines, the only other thing that we had to complain about this weekend was the overabundance of the Harley Quinns, Deadpools, and the Ricks. Please, people try some originality in your cosplays. I was very pleased to see a Chrono Trigger group, Sean Connery and Burt Reynolds/Turd Ferguson, and a Vin (from the Mistborn series). That's not to say that the Council of Ricks group, or the Jesus Deadpool (who mocked the Evangelical protesters outside of the con with his unending Macarena) weren't an interesting twist on their overused mold... But just doing a Harley in her shitty Suicide Squad costume is pathetic. We did see a Birdperson with Tammy. Tammy was hot, so I can see what Birdperson saw in her. But still, fuck Tammy.
So, despite this apparently being the most attended D*C yet, the hallways and walkways between buildings felt emptier than the past 5 years. My only guess as to why this was the case goes to the weather, which was unseasonably cooler this past weekend, which led people to walk around outside the hotels more.
Still, I long for the days when I first started going to the Con of Dragon, back in the mid to late nineties... I was able to walk right in to panels featuring big names, and then hang out and chat with them for an hour after their panel was over, get them to sign stuff, and then walk right over to the next panel I wanted to see with no lines whatsoever.
Dragon Con has ballooned from around 14,000 when I first started going, to over 77,000 now. That is in-fucking-sane. It's like the San Diego Comic Con in that if you don't pick ONE panel to go to on a certain day, and then line up for it hours in advance, you won't get in, and then you've pissed away however much time you did spend in line in the hot, hot sun that you could have been doing something else in air-conditioning. And even if you DO get in line early enough, Dragon Con may decide that your line isn't the official line anymore, and you've still pissed away your afternoon.
What annoyed me the most though was pretty much every Dragon Con staffer telling us "We don't know what's going on" whenever we'd ask a specific question about when a certain star would be there for autographs, or where a line started, or why anything was the way it was. Piss-poor management there, especially for a "For Profit" convention like this.
Oh, and FUCK whoever was throwing chairs off the 10th floor of the Marriott late Sunday night and almost killed a girl. Whatever you were on that night, I hope it killed you.
Anyway, my entire point to this is WE ARE GIANT DORKS. (Cupcake says that she isn't, but she is too.)
Note to self 437: 08/24/2017
So, the big news this past week was the fact that a total solar eclipse occurred. Yeah, it was cool. Yeah, it got a little dark at the apex. And yeah, President Trump looked STRAIGHT AT THE SUN three times without his special eclipse glasses on (even despite people yelling at him to NOT LOOK STRAIGHT AT THE SUN)... So you know, typical Monday.
My entire office went outside with our special glasses and watched the last twenty minutes of the moon blocking out the sun, and on the elevator ride back up to our floor Janet in Human Resources looked at all of us and said (in all honesty), "This should show you all the beauty of God! I mean, that we were alive to witness such a glorious event of nature! I mean, when will something even close to this happen again?"
I looked around at everybody in the crowded elevator car and noticed they were all as confused as I was.
"Um, Janet," I said. "You do know that there are something like five or six total eclipses that will occur in the next seven or eight years, right?"
To which Janet huffed out, "Well, maybe... But when will one come by US again? 20,000 years?! See! We are living in a God-given glorious age--"
But she was cut off by the VP of Finance who simply said, "2026.... The next one is 2026."
Then somebody (I can't say for certain, but I think it was Angry Amy) said, "Your god can suck it, Jan," under her breath, but loud enough for Janet and I to hear.
The best part of Eclipse Day though was 2 hours later, well after the sun was back in full force, we noticed a lone woman in the parking lot looking straight up at the giant fiery orb in the sky with eclipse glasses on. After a few minutes, she ripped the shades from her face and hurled them at the ground in disgust before stomping away to enter another building. Not a clue if she was pissed that she missed the celestial event, or if she was pissed because she thought the glasses were defective. I don't care, since she was retarded either way.
After all that, I came home to find my neighborhood destroyed again. This time by the portal to the Dark Dimension of Xenu (or whatever) that Doctor Dave apparently opened at the zenith of the eclipse. The beings that came through from the other side were too smart to stay contained in the prison that the good doctor built to hold them, but that was only because he miscalculated and thought that he'd only need something that could hold physical entities and not the celestial nightmares that he ended up getting.
The good news is that they all died and vaporized as soon as a quarter of the sun reappeared from behind the moon. The bad news is that my homeowners' insurance premiums are going to go through the roof again. This is like the seventh or thirteenth time I'm going to have to put a claim in for a complete rebuild of my house, not to mention my $450,000 worth of destroyed Rembrandts and my original copy of The Gutenberg Bible... As far as my insurance agent knows.
Note to self 436: 06/14/2017
So this weekend I decided to try and catch up on a bunch of things that I've been putting off for a while. Things like watching some movies I've meant to watch, catching up on some TV and anime, and finally driving over that very expensive insulin to Jimmy Jammer (that he couldn't afford to replace, that he left at my house 4 months ago).
First up, I finally caught Guy Ritchie's King Arthur movie, starring Jude Law as an evil douche, and Charlie Hunnam as a ripped, kick-ass version of Arthur himself. All in all, it was entertaining, just not as entertaining as Ritchie's earlier films (like Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, and even Man From UNCLE). It was everything that I thought and hoped it'd be though, meaning it was a Guy Ritchie King Arthur movie, filled with magic and knights and crazy camera work, and Ritchie's trademarked quick banter. Yes, it could have been a LOT better, but it could have been a lot worse.
After King Arthur ended, I figured that I'd movie hop into the new Tom Cruise flick in the theater across the hall. The Mummy had been getting panned by critics, and nobody I knew wanted to see it, so I figured that it might be worth it if I didn't have to pay for it. So, when the hallway was empty, I made a deliberate saunter from the bathroom that I was hiding in to the theater showing the Cruise vehicle. I figured I'd have missed the first 2 or 3 minutes due to my caution, but whatever. How much exposition could that be?
I then walked through the front door of the theater and was greeted by 5 theater employees just standing in the hallway leading to the seats. I almost froze when the fattest one closest to me looked like he was about to ask for my ticket. I kept my cool though and smiled to them all as I pushed past them, noting that the movie was already in the middle of a huge sandstorm on the screen. I then hustled to the end of the hall, and looked over to the pretty empty theater (it was maybe 1/10th full), and saw even MORE employees standing around the room, staring at a group of teenagers in the middle of the room.
Just as the fat employee who I brushed past at the door approached me, I turned and half ran, half jogged back to the entrance while muttering "Damn it.... Where IS she?!" In hindsight this made no sense (was I looking for somebody who I was supposed to be meeting for that movie? If so, why did I not just sit and wait?), but it got me out out of that pickle of a situation, and I never looked back.
This is the first time in over 20 years that I've almost gotten caught theater-hopping... It was quite the rush! But man, to get busted sneaking into an apparently really shitty movie... That would have sucked. Normally, if you theater hop, you're supposed to buy a ticket to the newest release that you plan to see that day, and then jump over to an older flick that's less likely to be guarded after that. But this time, there was only one showing of King Arthur that day, and I had no choice.
From what all my fave movie reviewers are saying though, I just saved 2 hours of my day at least. I might end up giving The Mummy a shot with the inevitable Riff Trax coverage of it.
After that, I ran to the local Sam's Club to pick up some things and eat a lot of free samples of various food and drink items. It didn't take long, and as I walked back to my truck, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that some old woman (wearing clothes that looked like they were stolen from the wardrobe for the cast of Les Miserable, and then shat on by a cow) was approaching me. I was able to shut the door behind me and lock it just as the crone knocked on my driver-side window. I looked at her (about 6 inches from my face, and uglier than I at first thought), and she raised up a large jar with a sign taped to it. It read (and I shit you not) "I am deaf. I need money. Please help!"
I wanted to say "I have a beard and need money more than you. Please give!" But I didn't. Instead I just mouthed "I have no cash. Sorry!" This was true. I never carry cash. This is mostly because when I have cash I spend it.
She grimaced and then turned away from me to start waddling towards a couple packing up their car a couple of rows over. That's when a thought hit me. I rolled down my window and yelled to the deaf woman's back, "Hey, I found a five dollar bill for you!" She turned around. I just stared at her. She flicked me off.
Fuck panhandlers. At least, fuck the lying douchie ones. "Oh, I don't want to work, but I want money!" Yeah, well, buck up, buttercup. That's ALL of us. But the rest of us usually bust our asses day in and day out to earn our fucking way. Why do YOU get to be a lazy shitstain on the underpants of society? Fuck off.
After that, I went home and met Cupcake after she got out of work, and we started to catch up on the new American Gods TV show. We both loved the book, and the casting looked pretty spot on from all the ads that we'd seen, but I think that Cupcake is giving up on it after we made it just 2 episodes in. I don't think that she appreciates the series' tone, but the only thing that nearly killed it for me was Anansi's tale of how he arrived in America. Anansi was one of the best characters in the book. He was a small, skinny old man who could charm the pants off of anybody. He was an African trickster god who never really intervened in his worshipers' lives, but gave them divine inspiration when he deemed it the right time to do so.
Anansi's TV persona went against EVERYTHING that made his character so lovable in the novel. He is now a tall, young, brash, ANGRY as all fuck, intervener who would have his worshipers immolate themselves because he can see the future, and sees that the police in the far, far future will shoot black people on the streets of America!... Oh, and he dresses like a 1970s blackspoitation movie pimp, even though it's the 1690s when he appears to his followers in the bowels of a slave ship.
Everything about that scene was both wrong and terrible. It was the first part of the TV series that changed something dramatically for NO reason. I mean, Anansi (or as his friends call him, "Mr. Nancy" in the book) was a really nice, laid back, and funny, likable guy. So much so that he got his own spin-off novel (Anansi Boys)! His portrayal in this show is a kick to the crotch. Totally unnecessary, and appears to be changed for the sake of change... Which is made even more horrible by the fact that pretty much every other character in this thing is spot on! Why change one of the best parts of the story like that? Fuck you, TV writers. I want MY Anansi back.
Other than that though, I love Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman, and the guy who plays Czernobog. Even if Cupcake bails though, I will probably continue with the show (the good so far does outweigh the bad)... At least for a few more episodes. But dammit, I hate what they did to Anansi...
That's about been my week. Oh, and Nintendo totally won E3 2017. God how I miss going to those.
Note to self 435: 03/08/2017
This past week has been one of legendary status.
It all started out with Cupcake and I going out to Vail, Colorado for a few days to see some relatives, eat some expensive (but amazing) food, attempt to ski, and in my case, get severe altitude sickness.
Yeah, yeah, I was drinking 5-6 liters of water a day — what everybody and their brothers, sisters, and grandparents were telling me to do in order to get over my sickness quicker. It did not work. I was dizzy, nauseous, groggy, and felt like I had a "bubble" in my chest and my guts for the entire time that I was there. Not fun. But I worked through it so as not to hold the party train down. Fuck the Rockies...
As for "things to do," there is really only ONE recreational thing to do in Vail: ski. Cupcake and her friends could already ski, but they took the beginners lessons with me (supremely reduced in price due to us knowing some employees), and for 3 hours one morning I watched Cupcake and her posse ski circles around me on the slight incline of the bunny slope while I did my best to not slide into the 5 year-olds taking their lessons at the same time.
3 hours later, and I felt like I learned nothing. I couldn't stop without my ski poles (which wrenched my wrists), I could barely turn, but then could not turn back the other way, and I wiped out at least a half a dozen times. On the bunny slope. The worst part is this: the blind 10 year-old who was learning in the group next to me did better than I did. In fact, I almost accidentally plowed into him once. The problem with that would have been that there's no way I would have been able to get away from the instructors and the kids parents if I had killed him like that. I was like a fish flopping around on a frozen lake. There would have been no escape, and possibly criminal charges.
Anyway, we took a break for lunch, and then afterward Cupcake and her ski friends decided that they wanted to actually hit the real slopes instead of finishing up the afternoon beginners' lesson (which I so obviously and desperately still needed). I hinted (without outright lying to them) that I would finish up my baby's course, then I bid them farewell from the lodge at the bottom of the mountain. I returned my ski equipment and then I spent the next 3 and a half hours laying on a very comfy couch, right in front of a giant stone fireplace with an enormous blaze roaring away in its giant, gaping maw, letting my fucked up knees, ankles, and wrists heal up as best they could. Honestly, that afternoon in front of that fire was magical. Even when that rude family from South America tried to get me to move since they wanted my couch. Fuck you, Sanchez Family. I was there first. Don't make me take one of those shitty chairs off to the side that got no heat from the blaze. That was all you guys'.
Oh my god, the FOOD. Let me talk to you about the foodstuffs!
Vail may have some of the most expensive restaurants that I've ever eaten at within its resort boundaries, but they were also among the most amazing experiences I've ever had (clothed in public). And Cupcake showed me a little trick too, in order to ensure that we sampled the best of each place that we went to. She brought with her some very nice whiskey to every new restaurant, and made it a point of presenting the bottle to the kitchen staff herself before we even ordered. They loved being appreciated, and we loved the attention that they gave us afterward. While in Vail I had the best sushi, elk, duck, lamb, trout, and scallops that I've ever had in my already long life.
Oh, and while in Vail, I met some really unusual people from all walks of life. From the 77 year-old ski instructor who had been on the mountain since it opened (back in '62), to that guy who lost his foot and lower leg to a volcano in Hawaii, a guy who accidentally dumped about 3 pints of local brew on his girlfriend's lap, and a guy who had plans to buy a food truck and set it up to be a drug delivery vehicle in New York City, despite the fact that his dad is a police detective (in another state). And those last three were all the same guy.
I was also absolutely amazed at the amount of people who could afford to vacation in Vail. Vail is not for the cheap or the poor. A Quarter Pounder meal at the only McDonald's in town costs $13.99, and that's not even with cheese. Most restaurants' meals started at $35. And the Vail Village area was always packed, as were all the slopes that we checked out. The ski lifts were providing the tops of the mountains with a constant stream of adventurers too. And we were there during an "off week." Damn... Where do all these people who stay in the all the super high-end hotels, or in the thousands of multi-million dollar houses and condos get all this money?! We were there on the cheap (staying with relatives and all that that entails), and it still cost tons of cash for the few places we ate out at, and the massive discounts we got for knowing people who worked at the main resort. There were quite a few groups there with families of 6 in tow. Good fucking god, that must have cost a fortune.
Anyways, after that, our travels took a shitty turn on the way back to Georgia when a massive thunderstorm caused our flight to be diverted to Jacksonville, Florida due to low fuel. Just as we landed at 9PM we were told that the storm had passed Atlanta International Airport, but we couldn't just refuel and fly there at that time, since the pilot and crew had already put in 13+ hours over the course of the last 24, and regulations would not allow it. That's understandable, but shitty, especially since I had to get back to work the next day.
We were told that we would have to leave the plane, line up at the gate to get new tickets issued for a flight the following morning, head on down to the baggage claim to collect our shit, and then get locked out of the terminal we were in for security reasons. But they told us that it was okay, because we'd be able to get back in to the terminal again starting at 4AM the next day. Oh, and for some reason that NOBODY could explain, every last hotel room in town was booked that night.
The American Airlines gate people were trying to find rooms for us (that the airline would cover), but everything up to 30 miles away was full. I was patient and understanding when I was talking to the lady behind the counter about the lack of any rooms or plans for any of us passengers, and I made it a point to tell her that I felt bad for what the situation the weather were putting her and her colleagues through, and that my wife and I truly appreciated it... Which is why when my phone was fully charged at 11PM, and before we could even get up to leave the Terminal (when the counter ladies still had about a dozen more people in line to set up with new tickets and all that jazz), my gate lady left her post and quickly jogged over to us, handed me a voucher for a Travelodge Hotel nearby, and told me that they found us a room (covered by the airline) for the night. She whispered all this to me and told us, "Go, go, GO!" as we gathered all our shit and then booked it for the baggage claim, and then hopefully an actual bed and shower.
Long story short, we got our Travelodge room, and as we checked in and got our room key a FLOOD of displaced travelers came barging into the lobby looking for rooms of their own. I felt terrible for the front desk girl on duty; she looked like she would rather straight up quit than deal with that mob of upset misplaced passengers who were not just from our flight, but a couple of Delta flights, and I think a Spirit Air plane diverted from Atlanta too. And she told us that there were only 2 more rooms left after us. Meh, fuck 'em all.
After that, the next day we had a pretty pleasant trip home, I got a full day of work in (starting late, but working from home since a commute wouldn't have made much sense at that time), and then I got ready for the Midnight Launch of the Nintendo Switch and the newest Legend of Zelda game: Breath of the Wild.
I had previously pre-ordered two Switches back on Switch Day in mid January, just so that I wouldn't have the same issues of NOT getting a system on launch day, like with what happened a little more than ten years earlier with the Nintendo Wii. So far, as of that Thursday, March 2nd, 2 hours before the midnight release, I was still good to go with my Gamestop-ordered unit. So I donned my Zelda hockey jersey (that I never normally get to wear) and joined my fellow Nintenfags in line at the local Gamestop to pick up my first Switch pre-order. (The other one was purchased through Target.com, and I simply sold it at cost to my friends with 2 kids in the house, and no time to find a Switch themselves. I'm no scalping asshole.)
Other than waiting with a bunch of unshowered geeks outside of the store in some chilly weather for a bit, everything went smoothly. A+++, would preorder again. I even got the last Switch Pro Controller that the store had in stock too. No real story there, other than the MAD amount of Zelda that I played once I got home that night, and then over the course of the entire weekend.
My only gripe with that amazing game has to do with the fact that weapons break after seemingly using them only 2 or 3 times. Okay, I can see making a game a bit more challenging and slightly more realistic by having weapons degrade upon usage, but a "soldier's bow" that SHATTERS after only loosing a dozen or so arrows from it is BULLSHIT. Oh, and do you like that really cool elementally-charged sword from the gods? Yeah, well, it only lasts about 20 hits. Then it disintegrates. Goddammit. If the Master Sword breaks, I will fucking rage and see how far I can discus-throw my Switch........ But other than that, this game is mind-blowingly fun to play. And huge. And beautiful.
And finally, to end the week right, the Chief and I had what was to become known as the WORST cinematic experience of our lives on Sunday night at the 8:30 showing of Logan. Holy fuckballs.... Our bad times started off with some foreshadowing before the movie actually began when the guy sitting on the Chief's right started a conversation with us totally out of the blue. I forget how and why it began, but we stopped talking to him after the following exchange.
The Manchild: I can't wait for Marvel to sue Fox Movies and get all their characters back!
Me: ........Wait, what?
The Manchild: I can't wait for Marvel to sue Fox movies and get all their characters back!
Me: Um.... They signed away the film rights to the X-Men and all their mutant characters to Fox. Fox is still making MAD money off of them. They'll never give them up, and Marvel will never win a lawsuit. Why would they sue?
The Manchild: (A bit frustrated now) ....I can't WAIT for Marvel to sue Fox movies and get all their characters back!
That's when the Chief told me to chill and just get settled for the movie. And so I did... But as soon as the flick started, Manchild started with his full-length retarded commentary. "OH! That's Logan!" he'd stage-whisper above the movie soundtrack to his female companion. "Otherwise known as WOLVERINE!"
The Chief and I looked at each other in the semi darkness of the theater, both of us silently asking "What the goddamn fuck, man?" But that was only the beginning. Manchild commented on shit that people could SEE ON THE SCREEN at that moment, or make what he thought were witty references to his date (sister? white slave? masochistic friend?) the entire fucking flick.
He was shushed, and at first the shushing worked, but after a few minutes he'd get back to it. Neither the Chief nor I wanted to miss any of the movie by telling on this walking choad to the management though, and as I've found in the past, unless you're in an Alamo Drafthouse theater, it rarely does any good to tattle on a talker (especially when it's only intermittent, and not a constant conversationalist you're turning in). So we just hoped he'd shut up or at the VERY least start whispering quietly to his companion... No such fucking luck. Goddamn it, I honestly could not tell if I liked the movie or not due to being so totally distracted during every dramatic scene by that fucker. It was just an awful experience.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, here are some of his NECESSARY interruptions:
"THAT'S CHARLES XAVIER. HE CAN DO THINGS WITH HIS MIND!"
"OH! THERE'S THE ADAMANTIUM BULLET AGAIN!"
"SHE'S STEALING THAT CAR! THAT IS SO FUNNY!"
"THAT GIRL HAS ICE-BREATH.... SHE MUST BE ICE-MAN'S DAUGHTER."
"THAT'S THE SAME HAIRCUT HE HAD IN THE FIRST X-MEN MOVIE!"
"HA HA! THAT GUY ASKED IF LOGAN HAD ANY TRAINING! HE'S FOUGHT IN EVERYTHING SINCE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR!"
Like I said, it wasn't even witty commentary or riffing, he was just either very autistic or the dumbest, most inconsiderate mother fucker on the planet. Or both.
I did see the fucker in the hallway after the movie was over, and he looked normal enough (i.e. not like a total waterhead). He was in his mid-to-late 40s too; he should have been able to function correctly in society by that age. And when we made eye contact he even smiled and nodded at me... Though his ability to judge social cues was apparently shit, since I was scowling at him, and I mouthed, "I hope you die from cancer in a fire," to him.
Fuck. Guess I'll just have to see Logan again. Though if anybody talks during the next viewing, I will whip out my homemade Wolverine claws (made from Cupcake's best chef-knives. Shhhhhhh...) and gut any movie interrupter like a fucking pig. Wish me luck either way.